Meet young professionals in European Standardization - Episode 12: Ewa Zielinska

2022 is the European Year of Youth. To celebrate this occasion, throughout the year CEN and CENELEC have been conducting a campaign consisting a regular series of interviews with young professionals active in European standardization, to get to know them and their aspirations. For the twelfth and last episode of the series, we interview Ewa Zielinska, President of Poland's Committee for Standardization (PKN) and CENELEC Vice-President Policy.

1. Please, present yourself. To what extent are you involved in standardization?

My name is Ewa Zielinska. In June 2022 I became the President of PKN, the Polish Committee for Standardization, after having been involved in standardization for more than twenty years. Over this time, I have worked at PKN in various positions, always related to cooperation with European and international standardization organizations, gradually getting promoted. For years I served as a Permanent Delegate of Poland to the CENELEC Technical Board.


I currently am the Vice-President Policy in CENELEC, and I will hold this position until the end of 2023. In this role, I am also leading the project on diversity implemented within the CEN and CENELEC Strategy 2030, which, among its different aspects, has a part focusing on age diversity.

2. Can you explain what PKN is doing for young standardisers?

A few years ago, we decided to build our own national project for young professionals. Based on the already existing project at the IEC level but covering all sectors – not just electrical engineering. Our aim was to promote participation at the European and international level among young people working in national technical committees, and this was the main purpose of the first workshop program we built. The feedback we gathered from the participants was a stimulus to make changes in the program, as we wanted to meet their expectations. The first workshops had been conducted in a traditional, in-person way.


But then, the pandemic hit, so we decided to shift the following editions in remote format, which has its good and bad sides: we can accommodate far more participants (last year about 100 people attended), but there are no opportunities for networking, and I think networking is an important aspect of building a standardization community.


In addition to this project, we lead a number of activities aimed at university students, but also secondary and vocational school students, such as seminars and lectures, access to standards at preferential prices, demonstration lessons and standardization competitions for students.

3. Why did PKN decide to launch this programme?

There were several motivations: we wanted to show that a career in standardization can be interesting, and that by participating in European and international standardization, young people can take their professional development path to a different level. It goes without saying that the natural consequence is also to attract a new generation of committed and motivated experts.


After analyzing the feedback from the first workshop, it became clear that young experts in technical committees do not always have mentors they can learn from, and therefore it is difficult for them to thrive in the world of standardization. So, after the first edition, we decided to focus on filling this gap in the first place. We want to give our young experts a good factual base, but we are not forgetting our long-term goal, which is to increase their involvement at the European and international level.

4. What advice would you share with other CEN and CENELEC members interested in repeating your experience?

I think the most important thing is to tailor your program to your national needs. CEN and CENELEC have 34 members each, and every one of them has a different history, different experiences, and a different domestic culture of standardization. We have different resources and capabilities. As a consequence, also our needs resulting from these factors are different. It is certainly important to learn from the best practices of other members, because their experiences and ideas are often impressive and inspiring; but to build the best program for your country, first you need to listen to your own stakeholders. Resources are often a challenge, but one can start with small steps and small actions, following the principle that a drop drills the rock. Do as much as you can, and it will turn out that more can be achieved in the coming years.

5. You are CENELEC's Vice-President Policy and President of PKN. Your impressive career can be of inspiration to the next generation of standards-makers. What advice would you give to a young professional wanting to follow in your steps?

I don't know if my career can be of any inspiration, but I would like to convey to the new generation that passion, commitment and acting in accordance with one's own beliefs are important. This, regardless of what field you are planning your career in.

6. Youth is one aspect of the diversity and inclusiveness CEN and CENELEC aim to foster in European Standardization, as illustrated by our Strategy 2030. Why does it matter?

This is important for many reasons. If CEN and CENELEC want to continue to be the forum of choice for experts to carry out standardization work, they have to change in order to meet their expectations. The global economic and geopolitical environment is changing particularly rapidly now, and the level of uncertainty is rising significantly. This applies to all aspects of our lives, including standardization. If, through the implementation of the CEN and CENELEC 2030 Strategy, we want to contribute to building a strong, independent and competitive Europe, then we must ensure that the standardization system in Europe is fit to respond to global challenges.


To achieve this, we need the involvement of various groups of stakeholders, and young people are one of these groups. Young professionals are very important because of their openness, innovation, creativity, and completely new approach: all these characteristics are fundamental to ensure that the future of standardization is bright!    


You can follow the rest of the campaign here and also read the other interviews to our Young Professionals in Standardization. 


Read the previous episodes of the series:

Episode 1, with Kévin Carta

Episode 2, with Lea Emmel

Episode 3, with Kristin Fagerli

Episode 4, with Alexandre Colombier

Episode 5, with Saharnaz Dilmaghani

Episode 6, with Jayson Shepherd

Episode 7, with Bledar Beqiri

Episode 8, with Lilian Fehlmann

Episode 9, with Alessia Gaetani

Episode 10, with Maya Petrova

Episode 11, with Martin Häuer

Join the conversation through the hashtag #EuropeanYearOfYouth


Giovanni COLLOT


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